Blazers' trip off to flying start
CJ McCollum scored 15 of his 27 points in the third quarter as the Trail Blazers opened things up en route to a 117-106 road victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
Shabazz Napier scored 21 points, and Jusuf Nurkic collected 20 points and eight rebounds for the Trail Blazers (22-18), who moved ahead of the Thunder (22-19) and into fifth place in the NBA Western Conference standings.
Russell Westbrook and Paul George each scored 22 points for OKC. Westbrook also had 12 assists and nine rebounds.
The Blazers got it done without Damian Lillard, who had 36 points and 13 assists in Portland's 103-99 win over Oklahoma City on Nov. 5. Lillard, who has missed seven of the Blazers' last nine games, has been sidelined for the last two with a calf injury.
The victory was more decisive than the final score indicated. Portland led only 54-50 at halftime, but outscored OKC 34-26 in the third quarter to take an 88-76 advantage into the final period.
The difference increased to 100-79 on a trey by Napier early in the fourth quarter. The Thunder got no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
"We didn't play as well as we should have in the first half," Napier said. "We wanted to be the first ones to throw a punch in the second half, and we did."
NOTES — Portland moves on to Houston and will play Wednesday night in the second stop on a four-game trip. . … In his six starts in Lillard's absence, Napier has averaged 18.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. … Portland got strong performances off the bench from Pat Connaughton (10 points, four rebounds), Zach Collins (nine points, five boards), Moe Harkless (nine points on 3-for-3 shooting) and Ed Davis (two points, seven boards). … The Blazers have scored at least 110 points in each of their last five games.